PALM SPRINGS (CBS) – A Coachella Valley doctor pleaded guilty to 272 felony charges after stealing patients’ identities and falsifying prescriptions.
Dr. Lisa Michelle Barden stole patients’ identities and used other doctors’ prescription pads to obtain prescriptions for more than 30,000 pills — primarily hydrocodone, or Vicodin, and oxycodone, or Oxycontin. Typically used for the treatment of pain, they also can induce euphoria and reduce anxiety.
According to investigators, the Rancho Cucamonga resident, also known as Lisa Degner, worked at several Palm Springs medical clinics and visited 43 pharmacies on 131 occasions to get her drugs.
Barden also filed false Workers’ Compensation Claims in which she stated she been attacked and stabbed. Because the jury found that she staged the stabbing attack, she was held liable for medical treatment of those injuries, and thus ordered to pay the $27,000 in restitution to the insurance companies she defrauded.
Barden became the focus of an investigation after several pharmacists reported that she was showing up to retrieve prescriptions under different names. She was arrested January 29, 2009, following a yearlong investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and the Riverside Regional Pharmaceutical Narcotic Enforcement Team. The task force was a cooperative effort of the state Department of Insurance’s fraud division and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Barden, who served time in jail from the end of January through April 13, was also sentenced to five years probation and her medical license was suspended for three years. She has 180 days left to serve in custody, though that time will be served on weekends as part of the sheriff’s work-release program. She must also perform 1,000 hours of community service, enroll in a narcotics addiction program and undergo routine drug testing.
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